Monday, September 19, 2022

2023 NCAA DI The Season: Utah Valley

 *NOTE* - I want to make it clear what this is and what this is not.  What this is NOT is an overview of the entire team. What this is, is a who’s who preview of THIS season 2022-2023. Meaning that I am going to talk about the starters who I feel will have an impact THIS year. Those who will win big matches in duals. Those who will earn placings in major tournaments like CKLV, RENO, MIDLANDS, MATMEN INVITE, SOUTHERN SCUFFLE, CONFERENCES & NCAA’s.  In some cases a weight class will have multiple talented wrestlers. I will note that & I will also be making posts later on about the best wrestle-offs to look forward to this season.  Then after that is determined I will make post later into the season of who our best backups are in the nation.

This post will NOT include redshirts. Those who are redshirting this season will be included in a separate post entitled “22’-23’ Best Redshirts.”  

As NCAA Division I wrestling continues to grow & get more competitive, the Wolverines have been a bit overlooked in all of the improvements that they have made. A team that years ago would have a handful of qualifiers, with an AA here and there, this season I would look for as many as 9 qualifiers.  I'm not sure on the status of Hunter Cruz & Taylor LaMont has transferred to Wisconsin for his final season of eligibility. 

125 lbs
Kase Mauger 

17-6 on the season, sophomore Kase Mauger will make a run at NCAA qualification this year. Among his victories, a 6-2 decision over Anthony Molton of Utah Valley. 

133 lbs
Haiden Drury

20-8 on the season, I was rather surprised that 2021 NCAA qualifier Haiden Drury wasn't selected as a wildcard last season. 3rd in CKLV & a 6-4 sudden victory over All American Devan Turner of Oregon State, I would say that among the All American candidates for 2023, he is one of them. 

141 lbs
         Ty Smith OR Isaiah Delgado

This is where paying attention pays off. A 5-10 record would probably cause quite a few to look past Ty Smith & his capabilities for this season. Take a deeper look and you'll know that three of his victories last season were against some pretty stiff competition. He defeated Cody Phippen of Air Force 7-5, Carter Young of Oklahoma State 6-2 & Alan Hart of Missouri 2-1.  With that said, even though he's got potential, one of his toughest challenges this season will be earning the varsity spot against challenger Isaiah Delgado. 16-1 last year, he had some impressive wins himself. Angelo Martinoni of Bakersfield, Chase Zollman Wyoming & Darren Green of Wyoming.  Should be a good wrestle-off. 

157 lbs
Daniel Snediker

Daniel Snediker did some nice things at 165 lbs last season & now he's down at 157.  Among his victories, a 9-4 decision over Tyler Cook of South Dakota State, a 3-2 decision over Mat Olguin of Oregon State & a 10-5 decision of Charlie Darracott of Stanford. 

149 lbs
Cameron Hunsaker

Not sure if it was injury or illness, or what exactly it was, but Cameron Hunsaker did not wrestle as himself last season. Hopefully whatever it was, it has been fixed & the 2021 NCAA qualifier is back to form this season. 

174 lbs
Demetrius Romero

Among the favorites of NCAA wrestling fans, the idea of a dark horse national champion is one of the favorites. Getting past Carter Starocci of Penn State & Mekhi Lewis of Virginia Tech, among the other top talents at 174 would be no easy task, but if there is someone who can do it, that someone is Demetrius Romero. 98 varsity wins thus far in his career, he's thus far earned a 6th place All American finish in 2021, two BIG 12 titles & a 3rd place showing at CKLV. 

184 lbs
Jacob Armstrong 

Wins over David Key of Navy & Colin McCracken of Kent State, as well as an 8th place finish at CKLV, look for Jacob Armstrong to earn NCAA qualification this season. 

197 lbs
Evan Bockman 

An NCAA qualifier last season for the Wolverines, Evan Bockman was also 8th at the CKLV. Among his victories he defeated Alan Clothier of Northern Colorado twice (3-1 & 7-4) as well as Jake Koser of Navy 7-3. 

Jayden Woodruff

11-3 on the season last year, Jayden Woodruff came within one match of a top eight finish at CKLV. While BIG 12 HWT will be quite competitive this year, it is fair to think Woodruff will earn a top eight showing & qualify for the NCAA's. 

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